Lesson 26: ~는 것 Describing Nouns with Verbs

Click here for a Workbook to go along with this lesson.

This Lesson is also available in Deutsch, Русский and Suomi.

Jump to:

Vocabulary
Introduction

~는 것: Modifying Nouns with Verbs
Past Tense (~ㄴ/은 것)
Future Tense (~ㄹ/을 것)
~는 것: A Wider Application

 

Vocabulary

Click on the English word to see information and examples of that word in use. You will probably be able to understand most of the grammar in these example sentences, but some of the sentences might use grammar from later lessons. Use these sentences to give yourself a feel for how each word can be used.

A PDF file neatly presenting these words and extra information can be found here.

Nouns:
아줌마 = middle aged/older woman

Notes: The word “아주머니” is commonly used as well

아줌마 and 아주머니 are commonly used to refer to an older woman that you don’t know the name of, or even do know the name of but aren’t close enough to call her by her name. This also extends to older women who work in a restaurant.

The age that you could call a female an “아줌마” is ambiguous, but I would say that somewhere between late-thirties to mid-sixties would be appropriate. Any younger, and you would probably be offending a younger woman by thinking she is too old. Any older, and you are better off calling the woman “할머니.”

Common Usages:
청소아줌마 = cleaning lady

Examples:
저는 아줌마를 위해 문을 열었어요 = I opened the door for an older lady

물건 = thing, item, goods

Common Usages:
비싼 물건 = an expensive item

Examples:
제가 산 물건을 언제 받을 수 있어요? = When can I receive the goods I purchased?
한국에서는 세금이 물건 값에 포함돼요 = In Korea, tax is included in the price of goods

복도 = hall, hallway

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “복또”

Common Usages:
좁은 복도 = narrow hallway
긴 복도 = long hallway

Examples:
복도에서 달리는 것은 위험해요 = It is dangerous to run in the hallway
이 복도를 걸레로 다 청소하는 데 시간이 많이 필요할 것 같아요 = It will probably take a long time to clean this hallway with just a rag

목적 = purpose, aim, goal

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “목쩍”

Common Usages:
목적을 이루다 = to achieve a goal
목적을 달성하다 = to achieve a goal
목적을 세우다 = to set a goal
목적어 = an object (in a sentence ), in other words, the thing that “~을/를” is attached to
목적지 = destination (the “goal” place)

Examples:
저는 목적을 이루지 못했어요 = I couldn’t achieve my goal
우리 학교의 목적은 국제고등학교가 되는 것이다 = Our school’s goal is becoming an international school
친구와 여행의 목적을 정하고 여행 일정을 대충 만들었어요 = I set the goals of the trip with my friend and then made rough travel plans

목적지= destination

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “목쩍찌”

Notes: As you know, “목적” translates to “goal.” 지 is a common Hanja character (地) that refers to land or a place. Together, “목적지” literally refers to the “goal” place or “the place one is headed towards.” This is easier translated to just “destination.”

Common Usages:
목적지에 도착하다 = to arrive at a destination
목적지를 정하다 = to decide on a destination
최종목적지 = final destination

Examples:
우리가 목적지에 거의 도착했어요 = We have almost arrived at our destination
최종목적지가 어디예요? = Where is your final destination?

국가 = nation, country

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “국까”

Common Usages:
공산국가 = communist nation
민주국가 = democratic nation
국가주의자 = nationalist
국가대표팀 = national team

Examples:
모든 국가의 자원은 국민이다 = The resource of all nations is its people
30개의 유럽국가에서 각 나라 대표들이 왔어요 = Representatives from 30 European nations came

동네 = neighborhood

Examples:
여기는 역사적인 동네입니다 = This (here) is a historical neighborhood
어느 동네에서 살아요? = Which neighborhood do you live in?
그 동네에는 가난한 사람이 많아요 = There are many poor people in that neighborhood
이 동네에서 산 지 얼마나 되었어요? = How long have you lived in this neighborhood for?
이 동네에서 축구를 잘 하는 청소년들이 많아요 = There are a lot of kids who are good at playing soccer in this neighborhood

학비 = tuition

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “학삐”

Common Usages:
학비를 내다 = to pay one’s tuition

Examples:
학비를 언제까지 내야 돼요? = Until when do I have to pay my tuition?
저는 그 대학교에 가고 싶지만 학비가 너무 비싸요 = I want to go to that university, but the tuition is too expensive

무기 = weapon

Examples:
군대에서는 사람들이 무기훈련을 받아요 = People in the army receive weapon training
학교에서 무기를 가지고 있는 것은 불법입니다 = It is illegal to carry a weapon in school

정답 = right/correct answer

Notes: This word is commonly yelled by Korean people if somebody asks a question to a large group. The group is usually students, but they could also be contestants on a game show or some quiz show on TV. It is common for the person who knows the correct answer to raise his/her hand and yell “정답!”

Common Usages:
정답을 알다 = to know the right answer
정답을 맞추다 = to guess the right answer

Examples:
그는 정답을 아는 척했어요 = He pretended to know the right answer
정답을 안다면 손을 들어! = If you know the correct answer, raise your hand!

청소년 = youth

Examples:
청소년들은 그들 자신을 사랑하지 않는다 = Young people don’t love themselves
이 지역에 청소년을 데려와서는 안 돼요 = You shouldn’t bring young people to this area

일본에서 성인들은 미국 청소년보다 만화책을 더 많이 읽어요
= In Japan, adults read more comic books than kids do in America

이 동네에서 축구를 잘 하는 청소년들이 많아요
= There are a lot of kids who are good at playing soccer in this neighborhood

지역 = a certain area or region

Notes: 지역 and 구역 are often confused. 지역 is more about the area of a city or country. Like 경기도 지역 (the area of 경기 province) or something like that. 구역 is more about the area of any other place, like a specific designated area of a building or park or something like that (for example, 견인구역 = tow away zone)

Common Usages:
지역 번호 = area code

Examples: 우리가 사는 지역이 조금 위험해요 = The area we live in is a little bit dangerous
이 지역에 청소년을 데려와서는 안 돼요 = You shouldn’t bring young people to this area

경기 = match or game

Common Usages:
경기장 = sports stadium
경기력 = sports performance

Examples:
우리는 3대 2로 경기를 이겼어요 = We won the game 3 to 2
우리는 다른 팀을 농구경기에서 이겼어요 = We beat the other team in the basketball game
축구경기를 보면서 맥주를 마셨어요 = I watched the match while drinking beer
축구 경기를 내일 보러 갈래요? = Shall we go to see a soccer game tomorrow?
야구 경기에서 두산은 LG를 이기게 되었어요 = Doosan ended up beating LG in the baseball game

제가 생각한 대로 태권도 올림픽 경기에서 대한민국 선수는 일본 선수를 이겼어요 = As I thought, the Korean athlete beat the Japanese athlete in the Taekwondo match

점수 = grade, score

Common Usages:
시험 점수 = exam score
높은 점수 = high score
낮은 점수 = low score

Examples:
제가 받을 점수는 중요해요 = The score I will receive is important
학생들한테 점수를 안 보여줘도 돼요 = I/you don’t need to show the scores to the students
학생들이 자기의 점수가 너무 낮다고 불평하지 않았으면 좋겠어요 = I wish students didn’t complain that their score was too low

선수 = player (in sports)

Notes: In English, we call athletes who play game-like sports “players.” For example, a basketball “player.” However, other athletes are not called “players,” for example, it would be unnatural to call a swimmer a “swimming player.” In Korean, the word 선수 is used to refer to any athlete of any sport.

Common Usages:
축구선수 = soccer player
농구선수 = basketball player
수영선수 = swimmer

Examples:
야구선수는 공을 세게 던졌어요 = The baseball player threw the ball hard
그는 축구선수만큼 달리기를 잘해요 = He runs as well as a soccer athlete/player
선수는 숨을 못 쉬도록 뛰었어요 = The athlete ran to the extent that he couldn’t breathe

선수가 공을 골대에 넣자마자 관중들은 환호하기 시작했어요
= As soon as the player put the ball into the net, the spectators/crowd started cheering

제가 생각한 대로 태권도 올림픽 경기에서 대한민국 선수는 일본 선수를 이겼어요
= As I thought, the Korean athlete beat the Japanese athlete in the Taekwondo match

목숨 = life

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “목쑴”

Notes: This word translates to “life” but is usually used when one ‘loses,’ ‘saves,’ or ‘dedicates’ a life.

Common Usages:
목숨을 잃었다 = to lose a life (to die)
목숨을 걸다 = to risk one’s life
목숨을 살리다 = to save one’s life
목숨을 바치다 = to dedicate one’s life

Examples:
사람 네 명은 목숨을 잃었다 = Four people lost their lives
그 사람은 사고로 인해 목숨을 잃었어요 = That person died from due to a car accident

모기 = mosquito

Common Usages:
모기에 물리다 = to be bitten by a mosquito
모기를 퇴치하다 = to get rid of “eradicate” mosquitos

Example:
숲에는 모기가 많아요 = There are a lot of mosquitos in the forest
모기가 파리보다 잡아죽이는 것이 더 쉬워요 = It is easier to catch and kill mosquitos than flies

허리 = waist

Notes: Although this typically translates to “waist,” Korean people often say “허리(가) 아프다” when their lower-back is sore. For example, if somebody came home after a hard day of work with lots of standing around and/or physical labor, he/she would say “아우! 허리 아파!” In English, it would be unnatural to say “Ahh! My waist hurts!” It would be more natural to say “My back hurts.”

Common Usages:
허리가 아프다 = for one’s back to be sore
허리를 구부리다/굽히다 = to bend over

Examples:
하루 종일 일을 해서 이제 허리가 아파요 = My back is sore after working all day

= moon

Notes: When talking about the moons of other planets, the word “위성” (which typically translates to “satellite”) is used.

Common Usages:
달력 = calendar
초승달 = a crescent shaped moon
보름달 = a full moon

Examples: 오늘 달이 왠지 아주 커 보여요 = For some reason the moon looks big tonight

인사 = greeting

Common Usages:
인사말 = greeting words
인사를 받다 = to receive a greeting
인사를 드리다 = to give a greeting (to greet a person in a formal way – like to a boss or something)
인사를 주고받다 = to exchange greetings

Examples:
할아버지께 인사를 드리고 싶어요 = I want to greet my grandfather
저는 친구에게 반갑게 인사했어요 = I greeted my friend happily
그 사람에게 인사하기 싫어서 다른 사람과 통화하고 있는 척했어요 = I didn’t want to say ‘hi’ to (greet) that person, so I pretended to be talking on the phone with somebody else

소금 = salt

Notes: When Korean people put “salt” on the road, they refer to it as “염화칼슘” (Calcium Chloride)

Common Usages:
소금을 뿌리다 = to sprinkle some salt

Example:
소금을 많이 먹는 것은 건강에 안 좋아요 = It is not healthy to eat a lot of salt

담배 = tobacco, cigarettes

Common Usages:
담배를 피우다 = to smoke cigarettes
담뱃값 = the price of cigarettes
담배에 중독되다 = to be addicted to cigarettes
담배를 끊다 = to quit smoking

Examples:
담배를 피우는 것은 건강에 나빠요 = It is unhealthy to smoke cigarettes
옛날에 담배를 많이 피운 환자가 많아요 = There are a lot of patients who smoked a lot a long time ago
이곳은 흡연 구역이라서 담배를 피워도 돼요 = You are allowed to smoke here because this is a smoking area

환자 = patients

Common Usages:
응급환자 = emergency patient

Examples:
옛날에 담배를 많이 피운 환자가 많아요
= There are a lot of patients who smoked a lot a long time ago

의사가 환자에게 열이 다 내렸냐고 물어봤어요
= the doctor asked the patient if his/her fever went down

환자분이 느끼는 고통은 부작용 중 하나 일 뿐이에요
= The pain you (the patient) are feeling is just one of the side effects

옷걸이 = hanger

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “옫꺼리”

Common Usages:
옷걸이에 못을 걸다 = to hang clothes with a hanger

Examples:
옷을 말릴 때 못걸이에 걸어서 말리는 것이 좋아요 = When you dry your clothes, it is good to put them on a hanger and dry them

국제 = international

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “국쩨”

Common Usages:
인천국제공항 = Incheon International Airport
국제운전면허증 = international driver’s license
국제학교 = international school
국제무역 = international trade
국제화 = internationalization
국제경제 = international economics
국제정치 = international politics
국제사회 = international community

Example:
우리 학교의 목적은 국제고등학교가 되는 것이다 = Our school’s goal is becoming an international school

일반 = usual, normal, typical

Notes: This word is usually placed before a noun to describe it as something that is “normal” or “not special.” For example:

일반 사람 = most people (typical people – the people who are typical)
일반 국가 = most countries (typical countries – the countries that are typical)

Common Usages:
일반적으로 = typically

Examples:
고속도로가 막혀서 일반 길로 갈 거예요 = The highway is jammed, so I will take the normal road급행열차가 출발하자마자 일반 전철이 역에 들어왔어요 = As soon as the express train left, the regular train came into the station

사이 = space, gap

Notes: If you place 사이 after nouns, it represents the space between them. For example:

저는 차 두 대 사이에서 서 있어요 = I am standing between two cars
그 건물과 우리 학교 사이에 사거리가 있어요 = There is an intersection between our school and that building

It is also used to indicate that the relationship “between” people:
저와 학생들 사이는 좋아요 = The relationship between my students and me is good

= the outside of something

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “박”

Notes: 밖 can be placed after a noun to mean “outside” of that noun. For example:
건물 밖에 = outside the building
학교 밖에 = outside the school

It can also be used on its own to refer to “outside” in general. For example:
밖이 너무 추워요 = It’s so cold outside!

Common Usages:
밖으로 나가다 = to go outside
뜻밖에 = unexpectedly

Examples:
밖에 일찍 나가려고 숙제를 빨리 했어요 = I did my homework fast so that I could go out
나는 밖에 별로 나가고 싶지 않아 = I don’t really want to go outside
제가 밥을 먹은 후에 밖에 나갈 거예요 = After I eat, I will go outside
저는 밖에 갈 수 없을 거라고 했어요 = I said I can’t go outside/won’t be able to go outside
그는 잠옷 차림으로 밖에 나갔어요 = He went outside wearing his pajamas

Verbs:
깎다 = to peel, cut, trim, shave

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “깍따”

Notes: As you can see, there are many possible translations for this word. It generally refers to the action of “cutting” something. In English, depending on what you cut, the word might change.

Common Usages:
값을 깎다 = to lower a price (cut the price)
연필을 깎다 = to sharpen a pencil
머리(카락)을 깎다 = to cut one’s hair, to get one’s hair cut (usually used for males)
손톱을 깎다 = to trim one’s nails

Examples:
머리를 깎았어요? = Did you get a haircut?
값을 좀 깎아 주세요! = Please lower the price for me a little bit

알아보다 = to recognize, to try to know

Notes: This word can be used to indicate that one recognizes (or does not recognize) something, usually because of a change in appearance. When used like this, “알아보다” is formed by combining the meanings of the words “알다” (to know) and “보다” (to see). For example:

머리를 깎아서 못 알아봤어요 = I couldn’t recognize you because you cut your hair
친구가 수술을 받은 후에 알아보기 어려워요 = It is difficult to recognize my friend after she got surgery

It can also be formed by combining “알다” (to know) with the grammatical principle ~아/어보다 (to try to), which is introduced in Lesson 32. When used like this, the translation is closer to “to try to know,” and is often used when somebody looks into something new. For example:

저는 캐나다 숙소를 알아봐야 돼요 = I need to look into places to stay in Canada
어제 비행기표를 알아봤는데 싼 게 없어요 = I looked into plane tickets last night, and there is nothing cheap

극복하다 = to overcome

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “극뽀카다”
The noun form of this word (“극복”) translates to something like “conquest”

Common Usages:
문제를 극복하다 = to overcome a problem
상황을 극복하다 = to overcome a situation
시련을 극복하다 = to overcome some sort of difficult situation
장애를 극복하다 = to overcome an obstacle

Examples:
이 문제를 극복하는 것이 힘들 거예요 = It will be difficult to overcome this problem
우리는 이렇게 어려운 시련을 절대 극복하지 않을 거예요 = We will never overcome this difficult situation

맞추다 = to adjust, fix, set

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “맏추다”

Common Usages:
알람을 맞추다 = to set an alarm
양복을 맞추다 = to get a suit tailored
초점을 맞추다 = to bring something into focus
장갑을 맞추다 = to guess the correct answer

Examples:
이 셔츠를 바지에 맞춰 입기 위해 노력했어요 = I tried to match this shirt with the pants
어젯밤에 알람을 맞추는 것을 깜빡해서 늦게 일어났어요 = I forgot to set my alarm last night, so I woke up late

합격하다= to pass, to get accepted

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “합껴카다”
The noun form of this word (“합격”) translates to something like “acceptance”

Common Usages:
시험에 합격하다 = to pass an exam
간신히 합격하다 = to barely pass
합격률 = the acceptance/success rate
합격자 = a person who passed/successful candidate

Examples:
그 시험을 합격하기 위해 공부를 안 해도 되었다 = I didn’t need to study to pass that test
내가 공부했더라면 시험을 합격했을 것이다 = If I studied, I would have passed the test
어쩌다 시험을 합격하게 되었어요 = I ended up passing the exam

결정하다 = to decide

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “결쩡하다”
The noun form of this word (“결정”) translates to “a decision.”

Common Usages:
결정력 = determination

Examples:
미국은 경제적인 결정을 했어요 = The US made an economical decision
서울에 지하철로 가기로 결정했어요 = We decided that we would take the subway to Seoul

이혼하다 = to get a divorce

The noun form of this word (“이혼”) translates to “a divorce”

Common Usages:
이혼율 = divorce rate
이혼소송 = a divorce suit

Examples:
소문에 의하면 그 남자는 아내랑 이혼했어요 = According to rumors, he divorced his wife
우리가 서로를 사랑하지 않아서 이혼하기로 했어요 = We decided to get a divorce because we didn’t love each other

물어보다 = to ask

The formal version of this word (when asking a question to somebody who deserves high respect) is 여쭈다 (often combined with ~아/어보다 to say “여쭤보다”)

Notes: The original word for “to ask” is 묻다, but it is much more commonly used as “물어보다,” which puts a spin on the meaning of the word to “to try to ask about” (the grammar of adding ~아/어보다 to a verb is introduced in Lesson 32).

I asked a Korean person once why the word “묻다” isn’t commonly used. When 묻다 is used, most conjugations would change “묻” to “물” as per the ㄷ irregular. For example:

묻다 + ~아/어요 = 물어요
묻다 + ~아/어 = 물어
묻다 + ~았/었어요 = 물었어요

The word for “bite” in Korean is 물다. When 물다 is conjugated, most of the results are similar to the conjugations of “묻다.” For example:

물다 + ~아/어요 = 물어요
물다 + ~아/어 = 물어
물다 + ~았/었어요 = 물었어요

To prevent confusion between “묻다” (to ask) and “물다” (to bite), Korean people often use “물어보다” to mean “to ask.” Whether or not this is the actual reason why 물어보다 is used instead of 묻다, I can’t be sure – but I’ve always remembered this explanation.

Common Usages:
질문을 물어보다 = to ask a question

Examples:
저는 점원한테 질문을 물어봤어요 = I asked the clerk a question
그것을 하려면 먼저 부장님께 물어봐야 돼요 = In order to do that, you need to ask the boss first
저는 그들에게 결혼식에 갈 거냐고 물어봤어요 = I asked if they were going to the wedding
우리 아빠는 나에게 어디 갔냐고 물어봤어 = My dad asked me where I went
저는 그에게 수영을 할 수 있냐고 물어봤어요 = I asked him if he could swim
선생님이 저에게 그 질문을 물어본 것이 기억 안 나요 = I don’t remember the teacher asking that question to me

피우다 = to smoke, to light a fire of some sort

Common Usages:
담배를 피우다 = smoke cigarettes
불을 피우다 = to start a fire
바람을 피우다 = to have an affair

Examples:
담배를 피우는 것은 건강에 나빠요 = It is unhealthy to smoke cigarettes
옛날에 담배를 많이 피운 환자가 많아요 = There are a lot of patients who smoked a lot a long time ago
이곳은 흡연 구역이라서 담배를 피워도 돼요 = You are allowed to smoke here because this is a smoking area

불다 = to blow

Common Usages:
바람을 불다 = for wind to blow
휘파람을 불다 = to whistle
트럼펫/트롬본/플루트를 불다 = to play the trumpet, trombone, flute

Examples:
안산에서는 바람이 세게 불어요 = The wind (blows) is strong in Ansan
저는 입으로 풍선을 불었어요 = I blew up a balloon with my mouth
바다 근처에는 바람이 세게 불어요 = The wind is strong near the ocean

계속하다 = to continue

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “계소카다”

Notes: “계속” is used as an adverb that means “always” or “continually/continuously”

Examples: 건물을 지나가서 오른 쪽으로 가지 말고 계속 직진하세요
= Go past the building, then don’t turn right, but keep going straight

우리가 계속 얘기하다가 선생님의 말씀을 못 들었어요
= We were talking, and then (as a result) we didn’t hear what the teacher said

제가 가자고 했지만 애기는 가고 싶지 않은 듯이 계속 자고 일어나지 않았어요
= I said “let’s go,” but the baby kept sleeping as if he didn’t want to go

우리 집 옆에 살고 있는 사람이 계속 노래하는 것이 싫어요
= I hate that the person who lives in the house beside ours always sings

제가 학생들에게 뛰지 말라고 했지만 학생들이 계속 했어요
= I told the students to stop running, but they continued to do it

다치다 = to injure, to hurt

Common Usages:
다친 데가 있나요? = Are you injured? (Is there any injured place?)
무릎을 다치다 = to injure one’s knee

Examples:
저는 저의 손목을 다쳤어요 = I hurt my wrist
병원에서 넘어져서 팔을 다친 아줌마가 약을 무료로 받았어요 = The woman who fell in the hospital and hurt her arm received free medicine

답하다 = to answer, to respond

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “다파다”
The noun form of this word (“답”) translates to “an answer”

Notes: When answering a letter or e-mail, the word “답장하다” is more commonly used.

Common Usages:
질문에 답하다 = to answer a question
정답 = the right/correct answer

Examples:
시험을 끝내기 전에 답을 확인하세요 = Check your answers before finishing the test
선생님은 학생들이 물어본 질문에 답했어요 = The teacher answered the question that the student asked

Adjectives:
틀리다 = to be incorrect

Common Usages:
정보가 틀리다 = for information to be incorrect
계산이 틀리다 = for calculations to be incorrect
답이 틀리다 =for an answer to be incorrect
말이 틀리다 = for something that one says to be incorrect

Examples:
그 달력은 틀린 것 같아요 = It seems like this calendar is wrong
네가 지금 말하는 것이 틀려 = (the thing that) What you are saying now is incorrect

깨끗하다 = to be clean

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “깨끄타다”

The adverb form of this verb can be 깨끗하게 or 깨끗이, which both translate to “cleanly”

Common Usages:
깨끗한 물 = clean water
깨끗한 공기 = clean air

Examples:
이 집은 아주 깨끗해요 = This house is very clean

나는 엄마를 도와 정리를 했다. 거실을 깨끗하게 정리하고 엄마한테 진심으로 감사하다는 말을 전했다 = I helped mom clean-up/organize. We cleanly organized the living room, and then said ‘thank you’ to my mom from the bottom of my heart

남다= to be remaining, to be left over

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “남따”

Notes: This word is often used in the present tense, the past tense or with ~아/어 있다 attached. Each has a very similar meaning. For example:

두 개 남아요 = Two are left
두 개 남았어요 = Two are left (or “two were left”)
두 개 남아 있어요 = Two are left

Common Usages:
5분 남아요 = There are 5 minutes left
5분 남았어요 = There are 5 minutes left
5분 남아 있어요 = There are 5 minutes left
몇 개 남아요? = How many are left?
몇 개 남았어요? = How many are left?
몇 개 남아 있어요? = How many are left?

Examples:
남은 음식을 포장하고 싶어요 = I want to pack up the food that is left over

맑다 = to be clear, clean, pure

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “막따”

Common Usages:
맑은 날씨 = clear weather
맑은 공기 = clear air

Idiom: 윗물이 맑아야 아랫물이 맑다 = Only if one’s master is honest, can the servants be honest

Examples:
오늘 하늘이 아주 맑아 보여요 = Today, the sky looks so clear

Adverbs and Other words:
무료 = free

Notes: The word 공짜(로) is very similar to 무료(로). 무료 is quite easy to remember if you know the Hanja characters:

(무): nothing, without
料(요/료): money, fee

When used as an adverb, ~로 is often attached to 무료. For example:

캐나다 사람들은 병원에서 치료를 무료로 받을 수 있어요 = Canadian people can receive treatment at hospitals free of charge

It is often placed before a noun, acting like an adjective that describes the upcoming noun. When used like this, ~로 is usually not used. For example:

캐나다 사람들은 병원에서 무료 치료를 받을 수 있어요 = Canadian people can receive free treatment at hospitals

영업 시간 = business hours

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “영업 씨간”

Notes: Although “영업” is a word by itself (which is one meaning of the word “business”), for a beginner of Korean the most common place you will see this word is as “영업 시간,” which refers to the time that a business is in operation during the day. You would most likely see this written on a sign outside of a store/restaurant or any type of business to indicate their hours.

Examples:
우리 영업시간은 오전 8시부터 오후 5시까지입니다 = Our business hours are from 8 am to 5 pm
영업시간이 몇 시부터 몇 시까지예요? = From when to when are you open? (What are your business hours?)

For help memorizing these words, try using our Memrise tool.

 

Introduction

Okay, it is time to kick it up a notch.

Most of what you learned in Unit 1 was taught simply to be a foundation to what you will learn here in Unit 2 (and later in Units 3, 4, 5 etc…). Of course, the content you learned in Unit 1 was very important (foundations are important) but here in Unit 2 it will be slightly different.

When learning Korean, you eventually reach a point where the only thing you are learning is other ways to end sentences. There are hundreds upon hundreds of different things that you can add to the end of sentences (to end them or to connect them to other sentences) to give a sentence a different meaning. I’m not going to lie: most of what you will learn from here on out (aside from vocabulary) will be these sentence enders/connectors.
Not today, though. Today you will learn the most important aspect (in my mind) of Korean grammar. It took me months to fully grasp this concept – but not because it is terribly difficult, but rather because I did not have good enough explanations when learning it. That is why I am here. I am going to break down this concept for you like crazy – spanning four lessons.

I am talking, of course, of ~는 것.

Understanding this concept will literally make your ability to create sentences increase dramatically. Lets get started.

This lesson is long. Very long. Please read the entire lesson to fully understand everything. If something is confusing, it will more than likely be resolved later in the lesson.

.

 

.

~는 것: Modifying Nouns with Verbs

Adjectives (in Korean and in English) get placed before nouns to describe them. You learned this a long time ago in Lesson 4. You learned that when you want to use an adjective to describe a noun, you must add ~ㄴ/은 to the stem of the adjective. For example:

예쁘다 = 예쁜
똑똑하다 = 똑똑한
젊다 = 젊은

To describe nouns in the following way:

Pretty girl: 예쁜 여자
Smart student: 똑똑한 학생
Young teacher: 젊은 선생님

Simple enough.

But, what you don’t know is that verbs can also describe nouns in this same way. It is the exact same premise with adjectives, but it is very difficult for English speakers to understand.

This same thing (verbs describing nouns) is also done in English, but is done differently than in Korean. As you know, In English and Korean, when an adjective describes a noun, the adjective comes before the noun:

However, In English, when a verb describes a noun, the verb comes after the noun. For example:

The girl who walks
The student who studies
The teacher who eats

The word “who” was added in all three examples, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be “who” in English. For example:

The girl that walks
The student that studies
The teacher that eats

In those three examples, “that” was added, and each example essentially has the same meaning as when “who” was written instead. You don’t need to worry about if it should be “who/that” or whatever because you are not learning English – you are learning Korean.

The point I am trying to get at here, is that verbs can also describe nouns. In English, verbs are placed after the nouns to describe them.

The next sentence is the most important sentence of the entire lesson:

In Korean, verbs are placed before nouns to describe them – very similar to how it is done with adjectives.

How is this done? Like this:?

걷다 여자
공부하다 학생
먹다 선생님

Are those correct? Haha. No. Not by a long shot.

When you adjust adjectives to describe nouns, you know that you should add ~ㄴ/은 to the stem of the word.
When you adjust verbs to describe nouns, you must add ~는 to the stem of a verb:

걷다 = 걷는
공부하다 = 공부하는
먹다 = 먹는

These are all verbs that can now be placed before a noun to describe it:

걷는 여자 = the girl who walks
공부하는 학생 = the student who studies
먹는 선생님 = the teacher who eats

Now, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking “Okay, that is great, but when would I ever say ‘the girl who walks’ in a sentence?”

That is a good question. Really, you would never (or very rarely) say something like that in a sentence – but understanding that sentence is the foundation for understanding everything else about ~는 것.

Remember, in regular sentences (in English and Korean), it is very rare to just use the present tense conjugation. For example, are these natural?:

여자는 걷는다 = The girl walks
학생은 공부한다 = The student studies
선생님은 먹는다 = The teacher eats

Are those natural? Yes, they are natural, but who would ever just say “the girl walks.” Usually in every-day sentences, you would add more information or conjugate the sentence in other tense:

여자는 학교에 걸었어요 = The girl walked to school
여자는 학교에 걸을 거예요 = The girl will walk to school
여자는 빨리 걷는다 = The girl walks fast
etc…

You can use the same information to describe the noun (the girl):

The girl who walked to school
The girl who will walk to school
The girl who walks fast

Lets stick to the one in the present tense for now:

The girl walks: 여자는 걷는다
The girl who walks: 걷는 여자

The girl walks fast: 여자는 빨리 걷는다
The girl who walks fast: 빨리 걷는 여자

Okay, so what’s the point? When would I ever want to say “The girl who walks fast”?

The thing is, now that you have made the noun “the girl who walks fast” (“빨리 걷는 여자”) you can now place that noun in sentences that:

–  end in an adjective
–  end in a verb
–  end in 이다

You have been doing the exact same things with adjectives since Lesson 4.

예쁜 여자 = Pretty girl
– 예쁜 여자는 어려요 = The pretty girl is young
– 저는 예쁜 여자를 만났어요 = I met a pretty girl
– 저는 예쁜 여자예요 = I am a pretty girl

The three sentences above include a noun that is being described by an adjective.

빨리 걷는 여자 = The girl who walks fast
빨리 걷는 여자는 어려요 = The girl who walks fast is young
저는 빨리 걷는 여자를 만났어요 = I met a girl who walks fast
저는 빨리 걷는 여자예요 = I am a girl who walks fast

The three sentences above include a noun that is being described by a verb

Those sentences may not be that common in either English or Korean, but that is the basis of this entire lesson. It is important to realize that entire clauses (including clauses that include complex grammatical principles within them) can be put before this ~는 것 form. These clauses can also include subjects within them. Typically, the subject within a clause that is used to describe an upcoming noun has the simple subject marker “~이/가” attached to it. Just like when a noun is being described by an adjective, once you have a noun that is being described by a verb (or by an entire clause), you can put it wherever you want in the sentence. Below are many more examples:

제가 만나고 있는 사람은 예뻐요 = The person I am meeting is pretty
제가 보고 있는 영화는 재미있어요 = The movie I am watching is funny
제가 먹고 있는 음식은 맛있어요 = The food I am eating is delicious
저는 제가 자주 가는 곳에 가고 있어요 = I am going to the place I often go to
친구는 제가 자주 가는 곳에 가고 있어요 = My friend is going to the place I often go

Actually, I feel like this is getting a little bit too complicated. I want to break this down one more time.

This sentence should be simple to you:

친구는 학교에 가고 있어요 = My friend is going to school
Simple enough. Subject – place – verb.

If you want to describe that school, you could do so with adjectives:

큰 학교 = big school
작은 학교 = small school|
나쁜 학교 = bad school

… or verbs:
제가 자주 가는 학교 = The school I go to often

Then, it is simply a matter of putting those nouns into sentences:

친구는 큰 학교에 가고 있어요 = My friend is going to the big school
친구는 작은 학교에 가고 있어요 = My friend is going to the small school
친구는 나쁜 학교에 가고 있어요 = My friend is going to the bad school

친구는 제가 자주 가는 학교에 가고 있어요 = My friend is going to the school that I go to often

Incredibly complicated at first, incredibly simple once you get the hang of it. The only problem is that it is difficult for English speakers to get used to because we describe a noun with a verb after the noun.

Many more examples:

과학을 좋아하는 여자 = the/a girl that likes science
저는 과학을 좋아하는 여자들을 좋아해요 = I like girls that like science

제가 보고 있는 시험 = The exam I am writing
제가 보고 있는 시험은 어려워요 = The exam I am writing is difficult

제가 사귀고 있는 여자 = The girl who I am going out with
제가 사귀고 있는 여자는 미국에 갔어요 = The girl who I am going out with went to the US

엄마가 요리하는 음식 = The food that my mother cooks
엄마가 요리하는 음식은 항상 맛있어요 = The food that my mother cooks is always delicious

공부하지 않는 학생들 = students who do not study
공부하지 않는 학생들은 똑똑하지 않아요 = Students who do not study are not smart

제가 공원에 가는 날 = the day(s) I go to the park
저는 공원에 가는 날에 항상 행복해요 = I am always happy on the days I go to the park

이 동네에서 축구를 잘 하는 청소년들 = kids who are good at playing soccer in this neighborhood
이 동네에서 축구를 잘 하는 청소년들이 많아요 = There are a lot of kids who are good at playing soccer in this neighborhood

Actually, Korean people have the same problem with this concept when translating to English. If you meet a Korean person who can’t speak English well, they will always say sentences like this in their ‘Korean style.’

Instead of saying: “girls that like science,” they say:
“like science girls’

Instead of saying “the exam I am writing,” they say:
“I write exam”

Instead of saying “the girl I am going out with,” they say:
“I go out with girl”

Instead of saying “the food my mother cooks,” they say:
“my mother cooks food”

Anyways, enough of what Korean people say.

 

It is hard to translate the definition of this concept directly in English, but it sometimes translates to ‘who,’ ‘when,’ or ‘that.’ These words however don’t need to be in the sentence in English, as you will see in the following examples. Each of the following pairs of sentences have the same meaning in English:

My friend is going to the school I go to often
My friend is going to the school that I go to often

The exam I am writing is difficult
The exam that I am writing is difficult

The girl I am going out with went to the US
The girl who I am going out with went to the US
The girl that I am going out with went to the US

The food my mother cooks is always delicious
The food that my mother cooks is always delicious

Students that do not study are not smart
Students who do not study are not smart

I am always happy on the days I go to the park
I am always happy on the days that I go to the park
I am always happy on the days when I go to the park

“That” can be used in most situations. If the noun you are using is a person, “who” can be exchanged for “that.” If the noun you are using is a time, “when” can be exchanged for “that.”

 

I’m going to say this one more time. Read it a few times to make sure you understand it completely (it is complicated). The noun that you create by describing it with a verb can be placed anywhere that other nouns can be placed!

Lets describe one more noun and see where it can be placed:

내가 가르치는 학생들 = the students that I teach

Placed as the subject of a sentence:
내가 가르치는 학생들은 수업을 듣고 싶지 않아 = The students that I teach don’t want to come to class

Before 이다:
그 사람은 내가 가르치는 학생이다 = That person is a student that I teach (I teach that student)

Placed in any clause within a sentence:
내가 가르치는 학생들이 수업에 오기 전에 나는 교실을 청소했어 = Before the students that I teach came to class, I cleaned the classroom

.. okay, I think you get it.

 

So far in this lesson you have learned how to describe nouns using verbs in the present tense:

The place I go
The food I eat
The student I teach

But what about the past tense?

The place I went
The food I ate
The student I taught

Or the future tense?

The place I will go
The food I will eat
The student I will teach

Lets talk about those now.

.

.

 

~ Past Tense (~ㄴ/은 것)

You can also describe nouns with verbs in the past tense to make nouns like:

The place I went
The food I ate
The student I taught

To do this, instead of adding ~는 to the stem of a verb, you must add ~ㄴ/은. You must add ~은 to stems ending in a consonant (먹다 = 먹은), and ~ㄴ should be added directly to stems ending in a vowel (가다 = 간):

제가 간 곳 = The place I went
제가 먹은 음식 = The food I ate
제가 가르친 학생 = The student I taught

The general idea is the same as the present tense; the verb is simply conjugated into the past. More examples:

엄마가 요리한 음식은 너무 맛있어요 = The food my mom cooked is delicious
저는 엄마가 요리한 음식을 다 먹었어요 = I ate all the food my mom cooked
제가 어제 만난 사람은 저를 다시 만나고 싶어요 = The person I met yesterday wants to meet me again
남은 음식을 포장하고 싶어요 = I want to pack up the food that is left over
내가 회사에 가지 않은 날에 병원에 갔어 = On the day I didn’t go to work, I went to the hospital
선생님은 학생들이 물어본 질문에 답했어요 = The teacher answered the questions that the students asked
옛날에 담배를 많이 피운 환자가 많아요 = There are a lot of patients who smoked a lot a long time ago
내가 작년에 가르친 학생 한 명은 벌써 의사가 되었어 = One of the students I taught last year has already become a doctor

 

 

~는 것 Future Tense (~ㄹ/을 것)

You can also describe nouns with verbs in the future tense to make nouns like:

The place I will go
The food I will eat
The student I will teach

To do this, instead of adding ~는 to the stem of a verb, you must add ~ㄹ/을. You must add ~을 to stems ending in a consonant (먹다 = 먹을) and ~ㄹ should be added directly to stems ending in a vowel (가다 = 갈):

내가 갈 곳 = The place I will go
내가 먹을 음식 = The food I will eat
내가 가르칠 학생 = The student I will teach

Many more examples:

제가 갈 곳은 제주도예요 = The place I will go is Jeju-do
저는 할 일이 있어요 = I have something/work to do
저는 그 사람이 저에게 줄 선물을 받고 싶지 않아요 = I don’t want to accept the gift that that person will give me
제가 받을 점수는 중요해요 = The score I will receive is important

 

 

In Lesson 9, you learned how to create a future tense conjugation by attaching ~ㄹ/을 것이다 to words. For example, in Lesson 9, you saw this sentence:

저는 밥을 먹을 것이에요 = I will eat rice

If you look closely, the grammar being used in this type of sentence is the same as the grammar that I am presenting in this lesson. If you look at the two examples below:

저는 밥을 먹을 것이에요 = I will eat rice
제가 받을 점수는 중요해요 = The score I will receive is important

In both of the sentences above, the ~을 attached to the verb is performing the same function – in that it is describing the upcoming noun.

Remember, “것” is a noun, and in the first sentence above, “것” is being described by the word before it (먹다). For example, look how “것” is being described in the first example::

밥을 먹을 것 = A thing that will eat rice

In theory, the full sentence (저는 밥을 먹을 것이에요) could translate to “I am a thing that will eat rice.” However, it would never be translated like that because when ~ㄹ/을 것이다 is used at the end of a sentence, it is usually done to create the future tense conjugation that would translate to  “one will do…” This isn’t imperative to your understanding, but it is good to recognize that ~ㄹ/을 has the same function in both of these types of sentences – which is describing the noun in-front of it.

There are many instances of a Korean grammatical principle having different English translations depending on the type of sentence it is used in. There might be one thing in Korean that represents many meanings in English, and there might be one thing in English that represents many meanings in Korean. Try to step out of the “English box” and understand that two vastly different languages will have very little similarities.

…Anyways…

…. All of this brings me to the last point of this lesson:

 

 

So What’s the Point?: ~

The name for everything you learned in this lesson is “~는 것” (or ~ㄴ 것 for past tense and ~ㄹ 것 for future tense). So far, I have shown you many examples of other nouns in place of “것”:

제가 먹는 음식 = The food I eat
제가 먹은 음식 = The food I ate
제가 먹을 음식 = The food I will eat

제가 가르치는 학생 = the student I teach
제가 가르친 학생 = the student I taught
제가 가르칠 학생 = the student I will teach

제가 가는 날에 = the day I go
제가 간 날에 = the day I went
제가 갈 날에 = the day I will go

Question:
So why is the grammar concept called “~는 것”?

Answer: (This answer is ridiculously important)
If you ever want to change a sentence (or any part of a sentence) into a noun, you must do so by adding ~는 것 to the clause. … which leads to the next question:

Question:
Why on earth would I want to change a sentence into a noun?

Answer:
Look at the following example:

You know this already:

저는 사과를 원해요 = I want apples
Very simple sentence. Subject – object – verb,

But what if you wanted to say the following:
I want my friend to bring apples.

The structure is actually identical in the two sentences:

I want apples
I want my friend to bring apples

In both cases, I will put the thing that you want in brackets:

I want (apples)
I want (my friend to bring apples)

In Korean:

저는 (apples)를 원해요
저는 (my friend to bring apples)를 원해요

The first one is easy, you already know:

저는 사과를 원해요

But the second one? How would I say this in Korean?:

저는 (my friend to bring apples)를 원하다

How can you say “my friend brings apples” in Korean?

친구는 사과를 가져와요 = My friend brings apples

But! You need to change that sentence to a noun. THIS is the situation when you will need to change clauses/sentences to nouns. Lets change that sentence into a noun:

친구가 사과를 가져오는 것

This is very hard to translate into English. 것 means “thing.” The rest of it is an adjective describing that “thing.” If I had to translate it, I would say “the thing of my friend bringing apples.”.. but, again, it cannot really be translated.

So, if we look at our sentences again:

I want (apples)
I want (my friend to bring apples)

Apples = 사과
My friend brings apples (noun form) = 친구가 사과를 가져오는 것

저는 (apples)를 원해요
저는 (my friend to bring apples)를 원해요

저는 (사과)를 원해요
저는 (친구가 사과를 가져오는 것)을 원해요

저는 사과를 원해요 = I want apples
저는 친구가 사과를 가져오는 것을 원해요 = I want my friend to bring apples

 

Wow, complicated.
Lets look at another example.

I like movies.
저는 영화를 좋아해요
Simple sentence. Subject – object – verb

But what if you wanted to say

“I like making movies,” or
“I like watching movies”

Again, I will put the things that you like in brackets:

I like (movies)
I like (making movies)
I like (watching movies)

Movies: 영화
I make movies: 영화를 만들어요
I watch movies: 영화를 봐요

Into noun form?:

영화
영화를 만드는 것
영화를 보는 것

저는 (movies)를 좋아해요
저는 (making movies)를 좋아해요
저는 (watching movies)를 좋아해요

저는 (영화)를 좋아해요
저는 (영화를 만드는 것)을 좋아해요
저는 (영화를 보는 것)을 좋아해요

저는 영화를 좋아해요 = I like movies
저는 영화를 만드는 것을 좋아해요 = I like making movies
저는 영화를 보는 것을 좋아해요 = I like watching movies

I didn’t realize this when I first learned this grammar concept. In almost every sentence you will ever say, you need to put this concept into use – whether you realize it or not.

Think about it, how often do you simply say “I want to eat food”? You usually make it more complex by saying:

나는 그 사람이 먹고 있는 것을 먹고 싶어 = I want to eat what that person is eating
나는 우리가 지난 번에 같이 먹은 것을 먹고 싶어= I want to eat what we ate (together) last time
나는 엄마가 요리하는 것을 먹고 싶어 = I want to eat my mom’s cooking

Etc…

Or, if you wanted to talk about what your dream is. Before this lesson, you could have said this:

나의 꿈은 선생님이다 …

… but that translates to “My dream is teacher”…. Is that natural? My dream is teacher? Instead, it would sound more natural if you said:

나의 꿈은 선생님이 되는 것이다 = My dream is becoming a teacher

Below are many more examples of a verb (with a clause before it) describing a noun being used in sentences. The following sentences specifically use the vocabulary that is introduced at the beginning of this lesson. In addition, these sentences are slightly more complex than the simple sentences I have used to describe the ~는 것 concept up until this point.

우리 학교의 목적은 국제고등학교가 되는 것이다 = Our school’s goal is becoming an international school
소금을 많이 먹는 것은 건강에 안 좋아요 = It is not healthy to eat a lot of salt
담배를 피우는 것은 건강에 나빠요 = It is unhealthy to smoke cigarettes
저의 목적은 그 시험을 합격하는 것이에요 = My goal is to pass that exam
이 문제를 극복하는 것이 힘들 거예요 = It will be difficult to overcome this problem
모자를 쓴 학생을 알아보는 것이 어려워요 = It is difficult to recognize students wearing hats
네가 지금 말하는 것이 틀려 = (the thing that) What you are saying now is incorrect
친구가 머리를 깎은 것을 알아보지 못했어요 = I couldn’t recognize that my friend cut his hair
복도에서 달리는 것은 위험해요 = It is dangerous to run in the hallway
병원에서 넘어져서 팔을 다친 아줌마가 약을 무료로 받았어요 = The woman who fell in the hospital and broke her arm received free medicine

————————-

Just one more quick note specifically about translating from English to Korean or vice-versa. Translations are often ambiguous from English to Korean, so you don’t need to worry about this too much.

When you use ~는 것 to describe an upcoming noun, the translation is often “who,” “that,” or “where.” For example:

걷는 여자
= The girl who walks
= The girl that walks

내가 간 곳
= The place where I went
= The place that I went

This type of translation is also appropriate when describing a “thing.” For example:

내가 먹는 것은 밥이야
= The thing that I (am) eat(ing) is rice

내가 가장 원하는 것은 차야
= The thing that I want most is a car

However, when using ~는 것 to change a clause into a noun so that you can do something with that noun in a sentence, the translation of “to” or “~ing” is usually more appropriate. For example:

저는 친구가 사과를 가져오는 것을 원해요
= I want my friend to bring apples

나의 꿈은 선생님이 되는 것이다
= My dream is becoming a doctor
= My dream is to become a doctor

저는 영화를 보는 것을 좋아해요
= I like watching movies
= I like to watch movies

In terms of Korean grammar, the purpose of ~는 것 in all of these types of sentences (i.e. whether it is being used to describe a noun or used to turn a clause into a noun) is the same. However, in English these look like entirely different sentences. Again, translations are often confusing and ambiguous. You don’t necessarily need to worry about the different types of English translations. What is more important is that you understand the Korean grammar presented here.

————————-

That’s it for this lesson, but in the next 3 – 4 lessons I will be going deeper and deeper into the ~는 것 grammar concept. This first lesson should give you a good first step.

Okay, I got it! Take me to the next lesson! Or,
Click here for a Workbook to go along with this lesson.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to make a post on our Forum!